Young children make scale errors when playing with dolls

Elizabeth A. Ware*, David H. Uttal, Emily K. Wetter, Judy S. DeLoache

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Prior research (b1DeLoache, Uttal & Rosengren, 2004) has documented that 18- to 30-month-olds occasionally make scale errors: they attempt to fit their bodies into or onto miniature objects (e.g. a chair) that are far too small for them. The current study explores whether scale errors are limited to actions that directly involve the child's body. We investigated whether children would also make scale errors with a doll and objects that were much too small for the doll (e.g. a chair, a bed). Many participants did try to fit the doll into or onto the miniature objects. Thus, the previously documented phenomenon of scale errors extends to situations in which the relevant size difference is between two objects. This finding supports the view that scale errors occur when visual information about object size fails to influence the decision to act on an object. The results are discussed in terms of the use of visual information for the planning and control of actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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